Four years ago yesterday, on Aug. 20, 2009, I had a grueling 6 ½ hour surgery called a Whipple procedure. I had a tumor in my pancreas, but I’m happy to say that I had the “good kind of pancreatic cancer”. Mine was neuroendocrine, the same kind that killed Steve Jobs, but it did not get me! Here is what WebMD has to say about the Whipple procedure: For some pancreatic patients, a complex surgery known as the Whipple procedure may extend life and could be a potential cure. Those who undergo the Whipple procedure have a five-year survival rate of about 20%. The classic Whipple procedure is named after Allen Whipple, MD, a Columbia University surgeon who was the first American to perform the operation in 1935. Also known as pancreaticoduodenectomy, the Whipple procedure involves removal of the "head" (wide part) of the pancreas next to the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). It also involves removal of the duodenum, a portion of the common bile duct, gallbladder and sometimes part of the stomach. Afterwards, surgeons reconnect the remaining intestine, bile duct, and pancreas.
The Mayo Clinic website says: The Whipple procedure is a difficult and demanding operation for both the person undergoing surgery and the surgeon.